‘I’m not dumb’: Law student not defined by her disability
WITH aspirations of a successful law career, anyone who knows Lucia Neely knows she is one smart cookie.
So it is always a challenge for her not to take offence, when people treat her like she is a little slow.
Lucia has cerebral palsy, or CP, and while the inspirational 21-year-old may do certain things a little differently to the majority of people, she said that is no reason to treat her any differently.
"Just treat me normally," she said.
"Don't treat me like I'm an idiot, I'm not dumb," Lucia said.
"I get people who talk to me loudly and slowly like I am deaf."
The Tinbeerwah resident is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Social work and once she graduates, will then transition into a law degree.
"What I love about uni is they grade you on your merit," Lucia said.
She is on track to fulfil her goal to one day become a diplomat for the Australian Consulate.
"I am proving that I am intelligent and very, very capable."
"There is a huge misconception for anybody with a disability that we are not intelligent.
"We might learn differently, but we are not dumb."
Due to her CP, Lucia has to work extra hard to remain mobile.
She has been a gym member at Noosa's My Fitness Club for three years and it is working wonders.
"Muscle strengthening exercises really help with my movement," Lucia said.
"If I don't stay mobile I will basically end up in a wheelchair."
She attends the gym five times a week, and while others may see her as their daily dose of motivation, it isn't why she is there.
"I am honoured that people think I'm an inspiration, but I really just do it because it is the only way I'm going to move for the rest of my life," she said.
"It's not a choice for me, it's a must for me."
Lucia's advice to anyone thinking of starting an exercise routine was to just get started.
"The hardest part is getting up and actually doing it," she said.
"You've got to make the effort.
"Once you do it, it will change your life."
"It's not always about weight loss, it can be about movement," she said.
"The gym is totally different for everybody."